NICOLA Sturgeon has signalled there will be a year’s delay to new rules on fire and smoke alarms in the home after a public backlash. 

The First Minister said housing minister Kevin Stewart was working on the matter and the delay would be confirmed as soon as possible.

New rules due to come into force from February would mean all homes must have interlinked heat and smoke alarms, plus carbon monoxide detectors where required.

The cost, which is not covered by any grant, would be at least £200 if self-installed, but some professional installers are asking for up to £600.

Failure to install the alarms could invalidate people’s home insurance. 

Age Scotland said it had been inundated by calls from people worried about the cost and the risk of having tradespeople in their homes during the pandemic.

The Scottish Tories this morning demanded the changes, which were a response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, should be delayed until 2022.

READ MORE: Scots face house insurance crisis with just 15 weeks to install new fire alarm systems

Ms Sturgeon was asked for an update on the issue at the daily coronavirus briefing.

She said: “I think there is a strong case to be made for a delay of a year, given the practical issues with the pandemic of people doing what is required to meet with that standard.

“We will make an announcement confirming that decision as soon as possible.

“But I know I’ve had quite a few emails about it, and I think people have been getting leaflets from companies from about it, which has sparked a bit of concern.

“We will make the outcome of that consideration known hopefully very soon.”

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville added: “We are absolutely aware of the concerns that are out there about that. Kevin Stewart is very keen to be able to reassure people about this.” 

READ MORE: Q&A - What you need to know about the new Scots law regarding home fire alarms

Mr Ross said: “The SNP Government must confirm a delay to the deadline for the installation of new alarm systems as soon as possible to provide certainty and ensure there is time for people to comply. 

 “Fire safety is absolutely vital, but homeowners currently have less than four months to install the alarms, at a cost of between £200 and £300, or risk breaking the law and invalidating their home insurance. 

“Many people have been quoted even higher figures, yet the only communication on this matter has been from businesses offering to install these alarms, not the Scottish Government who introduced the measures.

“Like Age Scotland, I have been contacted by many people concerned and confused about what they need to do.

“The rush to get tens of thousands of units installed will put real pressure on the trade.  

“There has been a communications failure over the change from the SNP Government.  

“It is only right to delay this unrealistic target while individuals and families are facing financial challenges and the ongoing pandemic is creating concerns about tradespeople coming into their homes.” 

Kate Morrison of Citizens Advice Scotland added: "We have been concerned about people's ability to afford the changes these regulations require and we think it would be sensible to delay its implementation until more thought can be given to helping people pay for it. 

"Of course we want to make Scottish homes as safe as possible but the reality is that many families are really struggling at the moment just to put food on the table and put the heating on.

"With the furlough scheme about to end we are expecting to see more redundancies, heaping even more financial pressures on people. 

"Under these circumstances it is not realistic to expect people to pay hundreds of pounds to make these improvements. 

"So we would support a delay to the deadline for implementing these changes and some thought given to ways the government can support people to implement them so that everyone can live in a home with an effective fire alarm system."